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FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / Let's talk walkie talkie

Gato
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Southern Calif

Jul 12th, 2019 09:22 AM   Edit   Profile  

As part of my disaster preparedness kit, I would like to add a set of walkie talkies with substantial range ... miles of range.

I know that line-of-sight has a lot to do with how well such a device works, but ...

From your experiences / knowledge What can you tell me about buying / using these things.

can you hear me now

Leftee
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VA

The Escalator
Jul 12th, 2019 09:36 AM   Edit   Profile  

So... who gets the other one?

LudwigVonFender
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USA

Embalm Amazon! 8)
Jul 12th, 2019 09:45 AM   Edit   Profile  

My question would be:

Did you not use these as a LEO?

If so, what did you like/dislike about the one's issued?

Would the one you used as a LEO be useful to you now?


In my job in the Military, we always used Motorola's. They were not cheap by any means but, they were very efficient and rugged.

Jake from PA
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Canonsburg, PA

They call me "Blind fingers"
Jul 12th, 2019 09:52 AM   Edit   Profile  

The FRS/GMRS units in the blister packs list 20 miles or more but that is a pipe dream. More likely you might get 1 to 2 miles depending on terrain. FRS channels are limited to 2W power and GMRS can be as low as .5W.

Edited to add:
You would be better off with a set of handheld CB radios, or combination base/handheld, that can use 4 Watts and on SSB up to 12 watts.

External link

(This message was last edited by Jake from PA at 11:54 AM, Jul 12th, 2019)

K4
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Being defenseless

does not make you more safe
Jul 12th, 2019 10:14 AM   Edit   Profile  

There is too much noise on the CB band. During the day you would be lucky to get 1/2 mile out of the hand held CB units.

Without using a repeater, like your LEO radios use, you are limited to about 2 miles with the linked radios. Terrain depending.

Gato
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Southern Calif

Jul 12th, 2019 02:52 PM   Edit   Profile  

"Did you not use these as a LEO?

If so, what did you like/dislike about the one's issued?"

Los Angeles County has always been famous for being fleeced by technology firms. Not just with radios, but computers as well.
(Ever wonder what happened to Steve JObs' "Next" computers? We bought them.)

It used to be that our only radios were those in side the radio cars. When you stepped out of the car, you put on the outside speaker. Thus, you could hear radio calls, but could not answer.

Next we received the "Mobile Extender" from Motorola. It was such a piece of junk that we used it as a club for self defense, on the occasions we left our batons in the car on a call.

Following that, some of our contract cities purchased a hand held for us, that plugged into the main radio, and could be hefted along by the deputies. My recollection is that they were okay, but limited in range.

Toward the latter end of my career we got those radios that are now on all cops, with the mic clipped the uniform. IF memory serves, these too are dependent on the main radio in the vehicle for any range.



K4
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Being defenseless

does not make you more safe
Jul 12th, 2019 03:52 PM   Edit   Profile  

The radios in the car and the radios you wore are low power units. 5 watts tops for the hand held and maybe 50 for the car units.

They transmit to a repeater, which is high power. LA county probably has 50 repeaters or so in order to cover the entire area.

The repeater is why when you stop talking you hear the repeater drop out, or a ker-chunk.

When you switched to a TAC frequency it was direct and you heard no ker-chunk. Also why you couldn't talk with your buddy on the TAC freq when you were more than a few miles from one another.

(This message was last edited by K4 at 05:54 PM, Jul 12th, 2019)

Montrealer
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Montreal, Canada

Jul 12th, 2019 03:54 PM   Edit   Profile  

What would a VHF radio on Channel 65 do for that?

tom l
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SE PA, USA

Chuck Finley is forever.
Jul 12th, 2019 05:40 PM   Edit   Profile  

Jake pretty much covers it as far as FRS/GMRS goes. Those bubble pack walkie talkie distance claims are entirely wishful thinking.

Without a repeater, it's going to be tough to get much distance. VHF would be a better bet than UHF for distance unless you're in an urban environment and need penetration into buildings. If you want to stay legal, look at getting your Amateur license (for both users). In many cases, the Ham repeaters may be up when other services fail.

Leftee
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VA

The Escalator
Jul 12th, 2019 06:51 PM   Edit   Profile  

Of course, if the poo hits the fan, screw the license.

argo
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Michigan

Get out of the line, climb the stairs.
Jul 12th, 2019 08:42 PM   Edit   Profile  

Baofeng UV-5R is 5 watts, broadcasts on ham bands and frs/gmrs. They are still available on eBay for $20 but after September of this year will be hard to come by. The FCC is banning import because they can broadcast on the family bands and the ham bands. The accessories available are plentiful and cheap and there is a plethora of information available. Also can monitor NOAA stations and be used as a scanner (I believe). The only thing a non ham will need to do is find the frs/gmrs frequency number. My two cents,!

argo
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Michigan

Get out of the line, climb the stairs.
Jul 13th, 2019 06:11 AM   Edit   Profile  

Adding: But these do require quite a learning curve, If you just want something to grab and go the radios in your link look wonderful and right up that alley

(This message was last edited by argo at 08:13 AM, Jul 13th, 2019)

Gato
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Southern Calif

Jul 13th, 2019 06:20 AM   Edit   Profile  

"Of course, if the poo hits the fan, screw the license."

This is my view as well. With power out, cell towers knocked offline (earthquake) and land lines disabled, I still need a way to communicate with nearby family members: one mile as the crow flies but with obstacles in between.


K4
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Being defenseless

does not make you more safe
Jul 13th, 2019 11:33 AM   Edit   Profile  

The GMRS radios would work perfectly. They do require a "tax" to use. I don't think the license requirement is enforced.

The FRS radios would probably work as well. If it truly is only a mile.

The amateur radios argo linked would also work, but programming them will be a huge pain in the ass.

argo
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Michigan

Get out of the line, climb the stairs.
Jul 13th, 2019 03:10 PM   Edit   Profile  

We also have a set of these, I did talk to the wife from the woods to the house, through forest and a few hills from about 1/2 mile away

Camo

ECS-3
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USA / Virginia

Jul 13th, 2019 03:37 PM   Edit   Profile  

If the intended comms is between two known points you could always buy a pair of the bubble pack radios, try them, and find out for sure. If they don't work, then just return them, so get them from somebody with a liberal return policy.

tom l
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SE PA, USA

Chuck Finley is forever.
Jul 14th, 2019 06:15 AM   Edit   Profile  

For distance, MURS walkie talkies are probably a better bet than FRS. MURS is a similar unlicensed service, but is on VHF rather than UHF. Something like a pair of Motorola RMM2050s, rather than the ultra-cheap Baofeng-type radios which are also being pushed as MURS units.

To be honest though, if I were going to do it, I'd find a decent used pair of higher-end Motorola VHF portables and get them programmed for the MURS channels. Not technically legal, but the better hardware and durability would be worth it. You could pick up a pair of old workhorses like the HT1000 or GP300 series fairly cheaply. Find a local shop to program and align them, and pick up some new batteries. With the end-of-lifiing of the XTS2500/5000 series, they are becoming very affordable on the used market too.


FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / Let's talk walkie talkie




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